So, it’s clearly been quite a while since I last wrote here. I’ve tweeted a few things here and there, but I’ve largely been silent on Twitter, too. What gives?
If you look at my previous post, you can probably connect the dots. My trip to Germany, while lovely, really did a number on my passion for language learning. Perhaps loss of passion isn’t the right way to put it, although that was the first thing that came to mind. Maybe loss of direction or a general feeling of defeat would be a better way to put it. After years of toiling away with German, going to Germany and feeling lost (at least with listening / speaking) was a bad feeling indeed. I felt very defeated, frustrated, and as if I had wasted all of that time over those many years.
I thought and wrote about sticking with it, figuring I wouldn’t let my experience in Germany get me down. No need to be like a native, enjoy the process, etc. And that really was my intention at the time, to keep chugging along and enjoying the experience. But reality has been different. I still love languages and have always enjoyed learning them, but the drive has just been gone, and I’m not quite sure how to get it back. Since returning from Germany, I’ve not done much language learning at all. I’ve written a few short messages to my tutor; I’ve read and listened to a couple of articles in LingQ; and that’s about it. I’ve thought about doing more, but I’ll look at my books and think – why bother?
To make matters worse, I’m at a level with German where I don’t seem to notice progress any more. I read, I listen, I learn words, but I swear, it always seems like there’s just as many new words to learn, expressions I don’t understand, grammatical quirks that elude me. I obviously understand that you’re never really “done” with a language, but I’ve got to say, I usually feel like I’m on a treadmill that’s never going to turn off, and that’s no good at all. This feeling is what I mean when I feel directionless in regards to language learning. I know enough German to recognize what I don’t know, and there’s a lot of it, so I’m not sure what to focus on. Too many fires to put out, so to speak, and it’s not clear to me which ones I should douse with water and which ones I should let burn for a while.
Having said all of that, I’m not quitting per se, but I do have to quit beating myself up over how I’ve been feeling. I suppose this post is part of that. I’ve been feeling anxious about not doing anything with languages, about not writing here, about not sharing language stuff with folks who follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I know, I know, you guys have other sources (traitors! ;), but this is something I really did want to do, so I feel like I’ve been failing in that regard. But I need to toss the guilt and anxiousness aside, because it’s doing me no favors. Ultimately, I may get back into the language learning thing – I’m going to try to – and I may not. And if I don’t, well, that has to be okay, I guess.
If you fine people have any anecdotes of being in similar positions and clawing your way out of it, feel free to chime in. I would appreciate it!
(As an aside: this is language learning “real talk.” None of that “it’s easy and great and it’s always a joy and you can be fluent in 3 and a half minutes!” stuff here, no sir. My apologies, though – I know some people prefer their language learning stuff to always be optimistic and uplifting, and I just don’t have any of that currently. Maybe in the near future if I can pull out of this slump!)
(Aside number two: I realize this isn’t the first time I’ve been in this situation and written about it. Life is cyclical, I suppose.)